A Cardiff-based pharmacist has been granted the position of Honorary Captain in the Royal Navy. The promotion for Captain Raj Aggarwal OBE, who is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, was made official at a ceremony in Birmingham.
The event was attended by the Head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin CB ADC, and Royal Marines Brigadier Graeme ‘Jock’ Fraser, who were there to congratulate Raj personally on his promotion.
The First Sea Lord said, ‘Our Honorary Officers are an important and valuable community and I am always grateful for their support to the Royal Navy. Since Raj’s appointment as an Honorary Officer he has been a tireless advocate for the service and this promotion reflects his commitment and hard work. A particular highlight was seeing his affiliated ship, HMS Dragon, lit up at sea to celebrate Diwali, in an image that reached audiences throughout the world.’
Last year’s Diwali celebrations (October 2019) was the first time that a British naval vessel had been illuminated in Indian colours, and the commanding officer and its company enjoyed a traditional Indian feast prepared by the chefs on board.
Raj’s latest promotion was approved by Her Majesty the Queen and his elevated rank is the equivalent to that of Colonel in the Army. In his duties for the Royal Navy, Raj is affiliated with HMS Dragon, a Type 45 Daring-Class Destroyer based out of Portsmouth. Mr Aggarwal received his first honorary commission in the Royal Navy in September 2018 and has since been promoted twice in the senior service, and was the first ever honorary officer for the Royal Navy in Wales.
Speaking at the ceremony, Captain Raj said, ‘It is a huge honour to be congratulated personally by the First Sea Lord today on my promotion to the rank of Honorary Captain in the Royal Navy. During my 18 months in the service I have had some wonderful experiences meeting the most committed and wonderful servicemen and women.
‘I want to use my position to create greater diversity in the Navy, to show the community that the Navy are supportive and there are amazing careers on offer, with first rate skills training and opportunities to see the world.’